[Thousands of people participated on Saturday in the funerals of the three civilians as fresh protests erupted in the southern districts where hundreds took to the streets and chanted anti-India slogans. (Photo: Mir Wasim/Greater Kashmir)]
Srinagar: Three civilians, including a 15-year-old girl student, have been killed after the paramilitary forces fired on protesters in Kashmir. The latest clashes erupted on Saturday after demonstrators threw rocks at an army patrol in Hawoora Mishipora village of the southern Kulgam district, officials said.
The official said two people who suffered injuries were in "stable" condition.
Mushtaq Ahmad, a Hawoora Mishipora resident, while talking to media said that the army entered the village at noon "and started beating people".
"They also entered the school and started beating teachers. This triggered protests and the army directly fired at people. They enjoy these killings because there is no one to ask them", he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated on Saturday in the funerals of the three civilians as fresh protests erupted in the southern districts where hundreds took to the streets and chanted anti-India slogans.
The latest killings took place a day before the second anniversary of the killing by Indian security forces of Burhan Wani, reportedly the commander of "Hizbul Mujahideen". Wani's death on July 8, 2016, triggered widespread demonstrations across the Valley for five months, during which more than 100 protesters were shot dead by Indian forces.
Hundreds of civilians were also blinded or suffered eye injuries after paramilitary forces fired lead pellets to control protesting crowds.
In advance of the anniversary of Wani's death, the authorities restricted movement of people towards his hometown and increased security measures. Large numbers of security forces have been guarding the streets, while checkpoints have been set up in the volatile parts.
The separatist leaders have called for a shutdown on July 7 and 8 as a mark of protest. Shops, schools and business establishments remained closed on Saturday.
Senior separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said on Twitter that "firing bullets, killing young boys and girls" reflects the "green signal" given to the Indian armed forces "to wipe off Kashmiris with absolute impunity to hold on to their territory".
Political parties in the state have also condemned the deaths of civilians. “We condemn these civilian killings. We hope that such incidents will stop,” said National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar.
“We appeal to the Governor that such incidents should not happen again. We have been saying that the military option is no option. This is a political issue and needs a political solution,” he said.
The Congress said the deaths were “highly condemnable, disappointing and detrimental to peace initiatives”.
“Since the day Governor’s rule was imposed in the state, the level of anger among the people had declined to a large extent. But the killings that happened in Kulgam today will again vitiate the atmosphere in the Valley,” said G A Mir, state Congress president.
Mir also urged the youth to maintain peace, saying the “pelting of stones will certainly invite action by the forces”.
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